8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The mother of all sci-fi films - Fantastic
An interesting and fascinating look at German silent cinema, and in particular, how sci-fi got started. This 1926 film is set in the year 2000, and takes the form of the fictional city of "Metropolis". Though often considered a pro-fascist film (a claim which Fritz Lang always vehemently denied), there is little to suggest that there is any intended Fascist...
Published on 18 April 2000
35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality print, lacking many scenes.
This print is horrendous. I am embarrassed to own it, the center is over exposed and the edges under exposed. As for the scenes which have been left out, there are too many to mention, but I think an excellent example would be the lack of the bald men with the Tower of Babel. Fritz hired 10,000 bald men to haul blocks of stone around, and this version doesn't even include...
Published on 12 Oct 2001
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The mother of all sci-fi films - Fantastic,
By A Customer
This review is from: Metropolis (Director's Cut - New Score) [VHS] (VHS Tape)An interesting and fascinating look at German silent cinema, and in particular, how sci-fi got started. This 1926 film is set in the year 2000, and takes the form of the fictional city of "Metropolis". Though often considered a pro-fascist film (a claim which Fritz Lang always vehemently denied), there is little to suggest that there is any intended Fascist agenda. The film once again draws on female contrast. For example, the contrast between the "pure woman" (Maria), and the "impure woman" (the robot Maria), further exemplifying the dichotomy between good and evil. Metropolis paints a negative image of mechanisation, with the machines running the city, yet mankind is worse off. The social critique is also there, with a 3 tier social structure, reflected in the habitats of the classes. The geometric mise-en-scène is seen as a representation of the rigidly ordered and structured society also. Scripted by Thea Von Harbou (Lang's wife), this film can truly be regarded as a landmark, and the first sci-film. Quoted as inspiration by many modern directors, and similarities can be seen in many areas (ie C3P0 was modelled on the Metropolis robot). My advice is to see this movie - its simply fantastic.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a completely new viewing experience, significantly better,
This review is from: Complete Metropolis [Blu-ray]  [US Import] (Blu-ray)I saw this film more than 30 years ago, and it did not make much sense to me. Beyond the spectacular visual effects, the motivations of the head man and the crazy inventor simply didn't add up in a fundamental way. With the new footage - a full 25% of the new version - it comes together to a much more coherent conclusion, so that the viewer can participate in a fantastic and complex historical document that also works as a story today.
In terms of the immediate film experience (i.e. not the historical interest), this film is a wonderful examination of the future of the industrial city. On one side, you find the managers and elite, who control the city with a tayloresque precision in statistics, processes, and space. The elite (or brain or head) reserves for itself the best spaces and activities. There is a wonderful, re-added sequence of a race between highly trained athletes, whose beautiful bodies are compared to huge statues in a stadium. Indulging himself in unprecedented riches, the son of the leader (or dictator or CEO) of the city plays sensual games all day in an artificial garden. On the other hand, you have the proletariat, who work the massive underground machines and live in the bowels of the city, exhausted and downtrodden but cared for in a certain way. They are the "hand".
The elite boy has a life-altering encounter with a young visionary from the underground, who is preaching an overtly christian message of brotherhood. He goes in search of her, discovering the underside of his father's empire and deems himself to be the mediator (or "heart") that the beautiful young visionary foresees as the salvation and who will change the balance of the Metropolis. To head off what he sees as a threat to his order, the father allies himself with a fabulous inventor, who is going mad. They develop a plan to discredit the young visionary. The recovered footage shows that the inventor and CEO were rivals for the love of the same woman, Hel, whose death split them apart and made the inventor a hidden enemy because of his insane jealousy. Hel was completely missing from the version released in the US and is the keystone to the entire plot. Needless to say, the son (Hel was his mother) joins with the girl to realize her vision of a new and more just harmony. While melodramatic as was the style of silent films, this story is wonderfully moving and thought-provoking with symbolism of both marxism and christianity but also industrial capitalism.
In an historical sense, the film is an absolute must-see for any film buff or sci-fi enthusiast. The scenario is probably the most influential of any futuristic vision in the history of cinema. Not only is there a vision of cities to come that many urban planners acknowledge as an inspiration to them, but countless later films were inspired by its imagery. You can directly compare, for example, Blade Runner or the laboratory scenes from Frankenstein to it, though they are lacking when compared to a complete picture of a possible future. Many of the images were inspired directly from the modern art of the time, such as the robot, when compared to the sculptures of Raymond Duchamp-Villon. Perhaps most interesting since it was made well before the rise of Hitler, you get a foretaste of what would happen in fascism - from the over-done architecture to the lines of men as they descend to work like prisoners in concentration camps. It is a tribute to Lang's genius that so many of these images are indelibly etched on the artistic consciousness of the 20C. Even better, with the re-added scenes the vision is far better realized than the original US release, in particular in the complete sequence of the robots transformation. I was completely dazzled by it yet again.
I wish to note that there are many plot subtleties re-added that improve the drama of the film, beyond the fundamental addition of Hel's presence. For example, the dictator has an enforcer who dresses like a protestant preacher, a sinister brute in the background. There is also the transformed man, Jahosafat, who was fired by the dictator and comes to the aid of his son.
All in all, this is essential to any film library. Much of the added print is crude, having been transferred from 16mm replacement prints, so viewers should not expect too much. Finally, there is a wonderful documentary that covers not just the film itself in historical context, but tells the story of the re-discovery of the original version in Argentina.
Recommended with the greatest enthusiasm.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly restored classic from the visionary director,
Set around the year 2000 (though still remaining visionary), the sci-fi film employed a staggering cast of 37,383 and used creative, cutting-edge effects to tell the story of the city of Metropolis (originally inspired by the Manhattan skyline). Here, Utopia (filled with ‘thinkers’) is supported by the underground (filled with ‘workers’). All is running smoothly until the workers – spurred on by an evil robot replica of their leader Maria – decide to revolt...
Approximately two hours long, the film is set to its original score (composed by Gottfried Huppertz), and this DVD edition has been painstakingly restored and digitally remastered to make it the closest version yet to the director’s original cut. Bonus features include a nine-minute piece The Restoration on how various copies of the original film were gathered from around the world and restored to create this edition. It also includes The Metropolis Case, a fascinating 44-minute documentary on its making, that also puts it into a historical context.
Included is how Lang’s overtly anti-Nazi film The Testament of Dr Mabuse (1933) had been banned by Joseph Goebbels yet he was later asked to direct propaganda films for Adolf Hitler. Lang explains in an interview how, when he was approached, left Germany the same day...
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate restoration, but I miss Moroder's coloured tints.,
By A Customer
It's a wonderful DVD. All the same, I still admire how Sergio Moroder's mid-80s "restoration" added blue or gold tint to scenes. This new special edition is only in black & white. However, there is a way around this... provided you plan to watch Metropolis on a PC... Here's how: you can watch the film with a lovely golden tint if you poke through your monitor controls to change the Colour Temperature. Lowering that temperature number to 6500 or lower makes the film look even better. ... Just a suggestion.
Either way, this is a great film made better through this priceless restoration.
35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality print, lacking many scenes.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Metropolis (Director's Cut - New Score) [DVD] (DVD)This print is horrendous. I am embarrassed to own it, the center is over exposed and the edges under exposed. As for the scenes which have been left out, there are too many to mention, but I think an excellent example would be the lack of the bald men with the Tower of Babel. Fritz hired 10,000 bald men to haul blocks of stone around, and this version doesn't even include one frame of them. Finally, the sound track is pretty poor. The alloy orchestra does a far better version, with a far better print. I would encourage anyone given the oppurtunity to see the alloy orchestra playing the sound track to this silent classic.
60 of 74 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Worst Version available,
By A Customer
This review is from: Metropolis (Director's Cut - New Score) [DVD] (DVD)The Eureka version claims to be the longest available version, but that's because it's shown at 14 frames a second. The original in 1926 was shown at 20 frames a second. This is actually the most imcomplete version available, bad picture quality, bad pan and scan (heads go off top of screen) and the music doesn't fit the action or pace of the scenes.A 75th anniversary version is coming soon and it's worth waiting for that. It's one of the most influencial and visually stunning films ever made, but this version doesn't do it justice, which is a crying shame. It's still a good watch if you haven't seen it at all, but you'll want to watch a fuller version to understand the storyline properly.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film, great disc, slightly dissapointing extras,
This version of the film is the most complete version since the original run back in 1927, and what is missing is represented by words describing the missing action. This works much better than I imagined that it would, and in some senses I am glad that some of the action is missing, as there are scenes that would have gone on too long if complete. Of course this does not mean that I would not be interested to see a more complete version, but I was releaved not to have to see Maria and Freder battle to open a locked gate whilst water rises around them 'Titanic' style (or is Titanic 'Metropolis' style?...)
The picture itself is amazing, at places it is astoundingly clear. The recorded sound is consistently good. Lang presents images of startaling imagination and technical finese, the city scape still looks amazing, as do the electrical discharges and the enourmous sets. The film has such a wonderful sense of scale about it; the back of the DVD box proudly proclaims that Metropolis had a cast of 37,383.
As if the amazing film and enhanced picture quality weren't enough, this version is presented with the wonderful original score by Gottfried Huppertz, and it seems amazing that this score has not been used in previous versions (one suspects that the cost involved is probably the reason). The score rise above the mearly melodromatic, and seems a woderful blend of Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss, with a pinch of Havergal Brian thrown in for good measure. Film scores can make or break a film for me, and this one is exceptional.
Some have questioned the political contenet of the film, and have suggested that the film has facist overtones in its portrayal of an elite mediator calming the unruly masses. This did not present a problem for me, the film is not explicitly right wing, and I have always had much more of a problem with almost painfull jingoism of Eisenstein's Stalin era films such as Alexander Nevsky. The political content does not interfere in with the story, which grows to increadible excitement by the end.
This DVD features an audio commentry, as well as a documentary on the context of the film, and other features such as stills galleries. The extras are really secondary to the film, as this disc would be well worth the money without them. That said, I was slightly dissapointed with the extras. The audio commentary, written by film historian Ennio Patalas, is delivered in a rather dry manner by an actor, and is rather uninvolving and essentially uninteresting. It does make some interesting comments on the origins of ideas and the sybolism of the film, but it often resorts to describing the on screen action, and is rather sparse with long periods of silence. The documentary on the other disc is delivered in the same soporific manner, but is altogether more interesting. Still, I don't think that anyone is buying this disc for the extras.
I would certainly recommend this film to anyone and everyone, and even though the extras are not as great as they could have been, the film is great, so who cares?
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not all it should be,
The plot, story, and acting are all superd, but I agree with Fritz Lang that the ending is too sappy to properly tie in with the rest of the film. It didn't feel as if it had been written and filmed by the same crew. And this isn't helped by the fact that approximately a quarter of the film is lost forever. However, rather than complete the picture (or use film from other versions), the general gist of the missing scenes is written in like the subtitles, and you have to use your imagination.
As for the disk, the film comes with a commentary by Enno Patalas (a historian), bibliographies of the main cast (only the main ones, 37,383 actors and actresses can be seen), and English translation of the credits, and also a documentary on how they restored the film, a must if you really enjoyed that and wanted to know how they got it back.
Don't buy this film for a fad. You have to enjoy silent movies in general to really grasp and love this film. If you don't, then it's something to chuckle over, or marvel at depending on your views of silent films
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb marriage of convenience,
This review is from: Metropolis (Director's Cut - New Score) [DVD] (DVD)Given the sad truth that Fritz Lang's epic was hacked to death almost as soon as it was out of the camera, Giorgio Moroder's rebuild has put back more, possibly, than was taken out. The sound track is beautifully judged and makes a perfect mate to the footage that has been recovered. The use of stills to give a clue as to what was there originally is well handled. It is the music, though, that is most exciting. Given that Lang was, first and foremost a showman, I suspect he'd be pleased with what Moroder has achieved in fitting an excellent score and performances to Lang's vision of Utopia and the Distopia that sustains it.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The City Far Below...,
This review is from: Metropolis [VHS] (1927) (VHS Tape)Ever since the official birth of the moving image on the 28th December 1895 courtesy of the Lumiere Brothers at the Parisian Grand Cafe, Cinema has taken on many styles from around the globe. From D.W.Grittihs tunnel-vision in 'The Birth of a Nation' promoting the Ku Klux Klan as America's saviors, to Sergio Eisenstiens 'The Battleship Potemkin' airing its political and expressionist views on the Russian Revolt. Just in these two simple examples we are presented with timeless and extraordinary images that leap from the screen and remain Cinema's unforgettable heritage. In 'Birth of a Nation' and 'Battleship Potemkin' we are given a brutal and terrifically filmed assassination of Abraham Lincoln and a masterly edited massacre upon the Odessa Steps as adults and children run for their lives, respectably.
Set in the future year of 2000, Fritz Lang's 1926 politically-under toned Sci-fi epic follows the decay of western society where work is everything and life accounts for nothing. Dreamily filmed, Langs' depiction of our reality is frighteningly realistic, where the past appears as a variation on the present. The future, a world that cultivates on its own routine of daily chores where the masters in the land above watch over the 12 hour shift changes deep in the underground. While this is happening, a mad scientist lives alone up in his house creating a robot called Maria whom he brings to life further into the story. Having to control the machines beneath the city of Metropolis, the son of one of the city's masters' becomes overcome by guilt and takes to the workers hand. Landing at the nearest machine where a seemingly half-dead worker leans limp at the controls. Unable to regulate the workings, the young immature brat causes a explosion in the underground factory.
The seven deadly sins scene is an absolute jaw-dropper, where the sins are perceived as living statues ever ready to pounce on prey. Special effects are as well profoundly filmed, most notably in Marias' second inception. Its aesthetic value and landmark qualities will be sure to not ever to throw off its influence.
Filmed with nearly 40, 000 actors on $2 million budget, UFA's movie looked set for great things, but sadly was a box-office flop and has only, in recent years, become officially recognized as the leading voice in Science Fiction film.
Followed a year later with 'The Spy' and most significantly in 1931 with 'M', arguably his finest talkie.
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Metropolis (Director's Cut - New Score) [DVD] by Fritz Lang (DVD - 1999)
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